Friday, May 28, 2010

A Story about a School

     There is a school I know of where the teachers truly do put all students first.  Where every single child in this school feels loved, feels confident, feels like striving to be better.  It's the elementary school where I have taught for the past 3 years, part-time, 3-4 days a week, and I truly love it there.  It is not an affluent school by any stretch of the imagination, and most of my students come from broken homes, live in apartments or with relatives, and a large portion are on the free-lunch program.  Mom or dad or whoever happens to be raising these kids normally work at least 2 jobs.  The stories they tell me about their lives break my heart on a daily basis.
     This school is so different from the ones my own children have attended, schools where teachers rarely had to worry about test scores , attendance, or where Thanksgiving dinner was going to come from.  I can't think of a better place for me to serve than in a school where the students truly need me.  I would rather teach in these environments than any other, because sometimes you are the only positive, loving force these kids ever come across considering the volatile home lives many experience.  You can be tired or cranky when you walk in the school doors but when I see their beautiful faces and get their hugs, my day in immediately "made".
     I have taught in a lot of different schools and in all environments: high school, middle school, special education.  And I can honestly say that this school is loaded to the brims with just about the most caring individuals I have ever known.  How do I know this?  Because I hear them teach, and I hear how hard these teachers work.  Our school has one of these "open" settings where there are not many walls and a lot of noise, so we can always hear each other teaching.  When I am in between my teaching groups and have some quiet for a moment, I can hear the others teaching.  And if you could hear what I hear, you would be so proud that your student has these teachers.  This is a group of highly educated, dedicated, creative, and inspiring teachers.  Not a day goes by when a teacher or administrator doesn't come and thank me for helping their kids (I teach inclusion groups throughout the day).  In turn, I want to thank them for dedicating their time and talents to these children.  I see the true collaboration between teachers and administrators whose main goal is always "How can I help this student succeed", and "Have we done everything we can to help this student".  Sometimes these kids are pulled by principals, librarians, tutors and others in addition to their teachers just to help them get an extra "push" to understand a concept.  This wonderful staff never gives up, and these amazing teachers are the hardest working people I have ever known.
     So, there are some people out there (like my own brother for example) who think teachers have it easy and, get too much time off.  Well, maybe in California where he is from, but not where I teach.  If he could spend even a second in a teacher's shoes at my school, he would think so differently.  So, as we all hear so often "No Child Left Behind" -- that statement is true at this school -- not one student gets lost in the fray, and none are ever alone.
     And here is the very best perk about teaching day -- on the drive home I never have to think "What have I done to contribute to the world today" or "What is my purpose"?  My purpose is always clear to me.

“If kids come to us teachers from strong, healthy functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.”

Barbara Colorose

No comments: